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History of IHM

The history of education on this site began in 1885, with the establishment of the Belmont School for Boys, a private secondary “Prep” school. In 1918, Archbishop Edward J. Hanna purchased the school for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and operated it as a Catholic boys’ “Prep” school until 1932. At that time, with the approval of Coadjutor Archbishop John J. Mitty, the Sisters of Mercy moved St. Joseph’s Military Academy from Rio Vista to the Belmont site and operated it as a boys’ grammar school until June, 1952.

In the mean time, Belmont became a “mission” of St. Charles Parish, San Carlos, in 1922, and was established as a parish in its own right under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1947. Ten acres of the St. Joseph’s site were purchased from the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, when it became available. The first thing the parish did was to establish its’ parish school, which opened in September, 1952, with grades 1-6 in St. James Hall, formerly Sierra Hall, where Sunrise Assisted Living stands today. Three years later, in 1955, grades 7 and 8 were added and moved into what is now the Science/Extended Care building, a structure that dates back to 1913.

Our present school building was started in late 1961 and opened in October, 1962. Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken blessed the structure on May 4, 1963. Improvements to this main school building have included the extension of the library in 1970 and remodeled bathrooms in 1998. The school program was expanded to include kindergarten level in 1975, and to meet the needs of working parents, Extended Day Care was established in 1988. Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish built a new Parish Center, which was blessed by Archbishop William J. Levada on December 14, 2003. This new building contains a gymnasium/auditorium, a parish meeting room, a kindergarten classroom, and in response to the expressed needs of our Belmont Parish community, another classroom to provide space for a pre-school level class, which began operation in September, 2010.

In order to maintain high standards and to provide for the changing needs of our students, we have added foreign language and computer studies to our basic elementary school curriculum, as well as providing a Librarian, a Resource Teacher, a Counselor and assorted Aides.

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur staffed Immaculate Heart of Mary School from its opening in 1952. Due to a decline in the number of Sisters available, the Sisters of Notre Dame withdrew from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish School in 1984. At that time, a lay Principal, Miss Margaret Purcell, was hired to lead the school with an all lay faculty. The goal was to keep the school true to its philosophy as a Catholic institution and to continue the tradition of excellence established by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish School continues to flourish in an atmosphere that cherishes and shares its Catholic faith, tradition and values; its love for its students; and its commitment to excellence.

Succession of Pastors:

Fr. Daniel I. Riordan,
Pastor 1947-1950;

Msgr. John J. Kenny,
Administrator 1950-1951,
Pastor 1951-1981;

Fr. William A. O’Connell,
Pastor 1981-1990;

Fr. James H. MacDonald,
Pastor 1990-2001;

Fr. Daniel E. Carter,
Pastor 2001-2003;

Fr. Joseph P. Healy,
Administrator 2002;

Fr. Stephen H. Howell,
Administrator 2002-2004,
Pastor 2004-

Succession of Principals:

Sister Adrienne Marie Cain, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1952 – 1957;

Sister Janet Marie Egan, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1957 – 1959;

Sister Ann Christine Barry, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1959 – 1961;

Sister Peter (Barbara Ruth) Birch, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1961-1966;

Sister Josephe Therese (Marie) Treanor, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1966 – 1971;

Sister Bernice Heinz, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1971 – 1974;

Sister Ann Christine Berry, S.N.D.deN.,
Principal 1974 – 1984;

Dr. Margaret C. Purcell – Brisken,
Principal 1984 – 2007;

Ms. Sandra E. Larragoiti
Principal 2007-2010;

Mrs. Hannah C. Everhart
Principal 2010-2012;

Mrs. Teri Grosey
Principal 2012-2017;

Ms. Jessica Schaukowitch
Administrator 2018;

Mrs. Andrea Harville
Principal 2020